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Spin-offs and the Market for Ideas

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  • Satyajit Chatterjee
  • Esteban Rossi-Hansberg

Abstract

We propose a theory of firm dynamics in which workers have ideas for new projects that can be sold in a market to existing firms or implemented in new firms: spin-offs. Workers have private information about the quality of their ideas. Because of an adverse selection problem, workers can sell their ideas to existing firms only at a price that is not contingent on their information. We show that the option to spin off in the future is valuable so only workers with very good ideas decide to spin off and set up a new firm. Since entrepreneurs of existing firms pay a price for the ideas sold in the market that implies zero expected profits for them, firms' project selection is independent of their size, which, under some assumptions, leads to scale-independent growth. The entry and growth process of firms in this economy leads to an invariant distribution that resembles the one in the US economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Satyajit Chatterjee & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2007. "Spin-offs and the Market for Ideas," NBER Working Papers 13198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13198
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E10 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - General
    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship

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